Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Cookie cards

The other day I received a wedding invitation from a friend and instead of the usual enclosed cookie card, she included a Starbucks gift card. I think this is a great, creative idea, and a good alternative to the traditional cookie card. We already got our cookie cards from my favorite Chinese bakery earlier this year so we'll go the traditional route. But to follow up on that previous post, I did some research on the reason for this custom, and the following is what I learned.

BACKGROUND
According to Rosemary Gong, a bride will have a 'cookie day' about a month before the wedding where the groom is supposed to deliver a pig, pastries, and all sorts of other types of food depending on various regional customs. I've always thought of this as more of a 'pig day' b/c delivering a whole roast pig is such a big spectacle but I guess the cookies are supposed to be the main event. Gong says the pig (symbol of purity) is supposed to be carried in headfirst and there's supposed to be lots of fancy pastries too, all of which is to be divided in half and returned to the groom (for example, if he brought two chickens, he would get one back). The pig's head, feet, and tail are also returned. What remains is then distributed amongst the bride's relatives. Here's where the cookie cards come in: Gong says that for brides who are too busy to set aside a day for this, they can send out the cookie cards to their relatives so that they can redeem them for pastries on their own. From my experience, it has always been whoever is a guest of the bride receives a card along with their invitation, not just relatives.

Similarly, a while ago, my mother said that the 'new' thing to do over in Hong Kong is to give out cards that relatives can redeem for food (in lieu of getting a portion of the pig and other food) at certain Chinese restaurants so that ppl can forego the headache of getting and delivering a pig. According to Gong, lucky money (hong bao, or lai see to you Cantonese ppl) can be substituted with a list of what the money is intended for written on the envelope. I think for ease, my parents would rather do the card thing only but I think the experience would be a good story to tell future generations.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Hi there, my fiance Alex and I stumbled upon your blog recently. It's really hilarious, as it reflects part of what we're going through as well in Malaysia.

We'll be getting married on the 12th of August and we certainly didn't bother consulting people for dates...why fight with the masses when you can have your own wedding date during the Hungry Ghost Festival? (supposed to be a bad month for marriage). But we're not superstitious as we're Christians.

Anyhow, we've got a wedding website, and we "borrowed" some text from you regarding the delivery of the pig and what happens to the head and trotters. Do visit if you want... http://us.atelierventures.com